Every year, we see a lot of material written about how important the holiday season is to the overall success of retailers. But little is written about the aftermath of the holiday season—dubbed the "return season." The ability to handle returns effectively and efficiently is a key component to the overall holiday success story and it arguably deserves just as much emphasis.
Considering that nearly 1 in 5 Americans is expected to return a gift each season, there is a huge opportunity to take advantage of this audience. To do so, policies need to be easy to understand, customers should be able to quickly exchange the item to minimize the lost sale, and there should be enticement for additional purchases to be made.
Since many consumer products companies are now selling direct-to-consumers and behaving like retail companies, their supply chains should allow for an effective return process so the consumer leaves the experience satisfied.
The ability of consumer products companies to gain market share in the direct-to-consumer space demands a customer return experience that is convenient, simple, reliable, and inexpensive. Consumer products companies who serve customers directly need a roadmap for strategic returns processing for an advantage against their competitors.